I’ve been doing a spot of guest-blogging over at SwissToni’s Place, as part of his excellent “Earworms of the Week” series. The concept of the series isn’t necessarily to list your ten current favourite tracks; it’s more about listing the ten tracks which have been occupying the most space on your internal jukebox. It’s a subtle but significant difference…
Earworms of the Week – Guest Editor #58 – Mike from Troubled Diva
Well, it’s a bit of a weird week for me to be doing this – as my mental jukebox has been almost completely dominated by the songs which I’ve been featuring on my blog as part of a project called Which Decade Is Tops For Pops?. Without wishing to turn this feature into an extended plug for my blog (the very thought!), the purpose of Which Decade? is to compare the Top Ten singles from my birthday week in 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997 and 2007. So for that reason, these earworms are rather more retro-flavoured than they otherwise would have been.
1. Here Comes My Baby – The Tremeloes.
A ridiculously chirpy and catchy slice of 1960s pop, from the band which featured Chesney Hawkes’ dad. The actual lyrics are all about losing your “bird” (let’s get with the 1960s vernacular) to another bloke, but – as with the mighty Steps, thirty-odd years later – no-one in the band seems to have noticed that they’re supposed to be singing a sad song. Quite the reverse, in fact. The rhythm of this track isn’t a million miles removed from “If I Had A Hammer” (Trini Lopez) – and best of all, there is a COWBELL. Cardinal rule of pop: you can’t go far wrong with a cowbell.
2. Male Stripper – Man 2 Man featuring Man Parrish.
“In hot cop drag, in leatherman’s stag, tits and my G-string made my living…” Or at least that’s what I thought they were saying, for years and years – until I actually saw a male stripper in a go-go bar (Washington DC, 1992), and realised that it is the custom, o’er the pond, to shove dollar bills down the performer’s pants. “Tips in my G-string.” Tips. Not tits. How naïve I was. Anyways, this is late period Hi-NRG par excellence – and it still gives me a bit of a “funny” feeling, 20 years on. Hey, I’ve never claimed that my sexuality was sophisticated. Phwoooar! Get kokkart!
3. Shine – Take That.
Much as it pains me to agree with Chris Moyles, you really can sing the “na-na-na-na” outro to “Hey Jude” over the outro to this one. Featuring Little Marky (The Formerly Cute One) on lead vocals, this was always the obvious next single from Take That’s comeback album – and while it doesn’t quite reach the astronomical heights of perfection set by “Patience” (you heard), it’s a nifty enough little wriggler in its own right.
4. The Worrying Kind – The Ark.
Isn’t it exciting that Eurovision is only three months away? No, but isn’t it? But for the real diehards, who follow the national finals from each participating country, the fun has already begun. In Eurovision fan circles, “The Worrying Kind” is already making waves. It’s one of the leading contenders at Melodifestivalen, which is Swedish television’s massively popular version of A Song For Europe/Making Your Mind Up. (The Scandinavians take their Eurovision very seriously indeed, see. Such a civilised part of the world.)
As with so many Eurovision songs, it’s fun to play Spot The Influences. Ooh, there’s “Waterloo!” And a bit of Bowie! And a snatch of Mika! And is that The Sweet? And, yes, that’s definitely more than a hint of “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” by Edison Lighthouse, a UK Number One in 1970. So much so, that the original composer is already onto the case. Anyway, who cares? Sheesh. This is uber-camp, mega-catchy, and super-fab, and that’s really all that needs to concern us.
5. Same Jeans – The View.
Yes, it’s basically The Proclaimers covering “Brimful of Asha”. And you’re saying that like it’s a bad thing? Makes me want to go lurching round The Cookie Club on Indie Disco Nite, tanked up on cooking lager and throwing shapes with the youngsters.
6. Eight Day Hell – …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
Blimey, have the Trail of Dead gone commercial or something? This is a totally uncharacteristic happy shiny bouncy pop tune, which oozes radio friendliness – except, when you check the lyrics, it’s actually nothing of the sort.
“In London we played half an hour a day, for a house full of neds who are wanting us dead. In Glasgow and Leeds we find signs of relief, an escape from our grief with a fistful of E’s.”
Blimey, are we that bad, I asked Jason from Ver Dead when interviewing him this week for t’local paper. Turns out that the song was written about a nightmarish tour supporting Audioslave. Which would be enough to drive anyone to DRUGZ, I’m sure…
7. Starz In Their Eyes – Just Jack.
It’s taken me a while to get over the initial “pah, he’s just a Mike Skinner wannabe” reaction – but now the dust has settled, this stands revealed as an absolutely spot-on broadside against contemporary celeb culture. So it’s a well worn target, you say? Doesn’t matter a jot, when the broadside is as compellingly well-constructed as this.
Defining Just Jack moment: when some wag at Nottingham Arena stuck this on the PA system during the interval of The X Factor finalists show, which I was enduring on behalf of t’local paper. Talk about apposite! Not that anybody noticed, of course…
8. Don’t Leave Me This Way – Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes.
If the collective votes of the readers of my blog are to be trusted, this might just be The Greatest Pop Single Ever Made. And who am I to argue? Forget the Communards – forget even Thelma Houston’s rival cover version – this is the original, and the best. Try and find the full length version – it goes on for hours, and it will blow your mind.
9. Freewheel – Duke Special.
Watching him down at The Social on Monday night , this turned out to be the standout track from the dreadlocked-and-eyelinered Irishman’s debut album – even though it’s the least typical of his vaudeville-influenced sound, being more of a nod towards “epic, soaring” Snow Patrol country. It’s also the current single.
10. Jenseits Von Eden – Nino de Angelo.
A huge hit in Germany in 1984, I cannot hope to offer any rational justification for this big-production Schlager ballad – except to say that it’s been on heavy rotation in my mental jukebox for the past 23 years, so it must be doing something right.
“Wenn man für Liebe bezahlen muß, nur um einmal zärtlich zu sein, dann haben wir umsonst gelebt.”
Ach, it gets me there, every time. Coldplay and Snow Patrol please note: this is how you do Deep and Important and Meaningful.
I shall now hand you back to your regular programming. Thanks for the invite, Mister Swiss. I’ve had a blast.